History of Company I
3rd Regiment S. C. State Troops
Lancaster and Kershaw Counties

At the request of a number of comrades, I undertake to give your readers a short reminiscence of Co. I, 3rd Regiment of S. C. State Troops. Should this article chance to fall in the hands of any of comrades, their friends or relatives and awaken pleasant recollections of the campaign of our command in defense of our State and the doctrines then promulgated. This writer shall be well repaid, and with a desire to that end, will write.

The exigency of the situation demanded that our Governor exhaust every resource at his command to resist the threatened invasion of our beloved State, and the ends justifying the means, it was ordered that an enlistment be made of all persons above the age of sixteen years. Under this order, our company was organized and ordered to rendezvous at Hamburg, S. C., early in September 1864. We concentrated at Camden and proceeded by rail to Branchville and there received orders to push on to Charleston, from which we were ordered to fortifications at Honey Hill, three miles southwest from Grahamville, S. C. We were taken by rail to Salkahatchie on the Charleston and Savannah railroad. From this we marched around Pocotaligo to Grahamville. On this march, we got an inkling if the horrors of war. There had been an engagement on that day, and our march (in the night), we came in collision with wagons said to have been laden with the dead and wounded. This caused a feeling of sadness to pervade the breasts of some and others did not seem to care, this is human nature. We arrived at Honey Hill and found the place well fortified, the pass thru the swamp being commanded by DePass' artillery. Here we built our quarters on an elevation in a picturesque place and in a few hours a formal organization was effected, our company mustering sixty eight rank and file. [For list, see issue in last week]{Copy of Issue never found}.

We were armed with Enfield rifles and in many instances, it puzzled the boys to hold them "off hand". As some of the boys had never fired a gun, much amusement was created and they were the recipients of many hard "saws" and much harder kicks (from the guns). At this place, our surgeon, Dr. Joseph Blair, examined the boys. Those who were laboring under physical disabilities were discharged and many applicants were remanded to their quarters and mustered as able-bodied soldiers. The first duty entailed upon us was to inter the dead Yankees who had been killed in an action sometime previous to our arrival and had been hurriedly thrown into ditches and partially covered. This was trying to the olfactory nerves of those engaged. All entered upon the duties of a soldier's life as cheerfully as circumstances would permit. Daily drill under competent drillmasters soon made order out of chaos. Good officers and sufficient "grub" made our stay at this place very pleasant. The first charge that our company made was on some potato and sugar cane banks on Gen. Howard's plantation. They were speedily annihilated and many sweet trophies were carried back to camp. The most arduous duty performed was as vidette pickets. Such close proximity to the enemy caused "war to lose all of its charms." We were ordered to move forward and assist in the defense of the beautiful city of Savannah. We went by rail to near Hardeeville and marched to the turnpike to the Savannah River. (On this march, our worthy corporal, Joseph M Caskey, was grievously attacked with cholera morbus and from its dread effects super induced by over exertion nearly succumbed, and but for antidotes administered by friends, would possibly have died, and is such event, our company would have lost its best member and Lancaster County a future good citizen.) We arrived at the river after night and were cautioned to lie low in the weeds and grass as the Yankee gunboats were near and would shell us. Needless to say, we lay low. We rested here a while and then countermarched by same route to Grahamville.

Soon we were ordered to Adams Run to which place we proceeded marching by way of Timmonville to Salkahatchie and thence by rail to our destination, (Adams Run) a pretty little Village retreated a few miles south of the Charleston and Savannah R. R. We were quartered near some old barracks a few miles south of the village. Our stay at this place would have been pleasant but for the lack of rations. A beautiful situation, light duties and all enjoying good health (itch and measles excepted;) during our sojourn here, our regiment was marched, under false alarm, to Whites Point, where a Yankee gunboat was grounded on an oyster bank. We got near enough to see the boat and then marched back, (without the boat) near this place at Tulajina the first regiment encountered a detachment of Yankees and retreated with considerable loss of clothing, guns, and accoutrements. After suffering much at this point from hunger, we were ordered to James Island which we reached with the loss of nearly all of our baggage. We were stationed near battery No. 1. Here we fared well and our stay was enjoyed by all.

On the night of Feb 17th 1865, Charleston and her defences were evacuated. Sherman's march to the sea would inevitably cut us off and to save the command it was absolutely necessary to speedily evacuate the city. This caused a feeling of sadness to fall like a pall over the whole command and as dissolution of the confederacy war was imminent, it was thought necessary or expedient to destroy the vast accumulation of commissary and other stores that had been collected. On the destruction of these stores together with promiscuous and incessant shelling, the burning city, the fearful explosion of the depot and of the magazines and gunboats made the grandest and saddest pyrotechnic display ever witnessed on this continent. We wended our way to Monck's Corner. The roadside for twenty-two miles was one vast museum, a conglomeration of blankets, coats, shirts, guns, accountrements, rations, etc. We boarded the train at St. Stephens and were hauled to Gourdins, marched to Kingstree and by rail to Cheraw. Just before the train stopped, some of the member of the second regiment were knocked off the cars by an overhead bridge and killed. We marched to Cheraw and were quartered in the woods near the depot. We remained here a few days awaiting Sherman's approach. We proposed to make a stand here but it was judged expedient to move forward. Immediately upon the passage of our troops, the magnificent bridge, which spanned the Pee Dee at this point, was fired. This was a check to Sherman and caused him to use pontoons. By the time thus gained together with forced marches, we were able to keep ahead. On this march we drew our first rations of corn (in the ear), this to boil for a short time in salt water and then parched it. This was very palatable and nourishing. In this retreat, the writer saw a man carrying a pine torch and another holding a frying pan over it and in this manner cooked a hoecake and the writer ate a portion of the bread thus cooked. We arrived at Fayetteville and were hospitably by the ladies of this ancient town. The writer remembers many kindnesses conferred upon him and his messmate, John E Lark, by these kind and patriotic ladies. Here our regiment was given charge of about five hundred prisoners captured the night before in a soiree by Hampton's cavalry on the camp of Gen. Kirkpatrick, the writer here saw a horse (a magnificent iron grey) said to be the property of Gen. Kirkpatrick; we conducted the prisoners, consisting of non-commissioned officers and privates, safely to Raleigh and placed them in charge of N. C. Troops, on this march the commissioned officers among the prisoners were separated and placed in charge of a detail of officers and allowed to precede the command. They managed to make good their escape, much to the chagrin of polite Captain Broom of Fairfield who was in command of the detail. Our command by this disposition did not take part in the action at Averysborough, Smithfield, and Bentonville, from Raleigh we were ordered to Spartanburg, S. C. We stopped at Durham and other points along the railroad and in two or three days arrived at Charlotte, here we drew rations and then proceeded to Chester.

After our departure from Raleigh, our command melted like snow before the sun, and no man could be returned beyond the path to his home Consequently, very few arrived at Chester. The war being considered at an end, the writer, E. C. Dunlap and others were allowed to depart for home, we wended our way to Gooch's ferry and our first view of the devastating effects of Sherman's raid was seen, we found the suburbs of Lancaster filled with dead horses, mules, and fowls. A spectacular exhibition of cruelty and vindictiveness of Sherman's incendiaries and bummers. We found that all good things to which we had been so anxiously looking forward had gone to fill the maw of this Leviathan and that only a home was left. We heard later that Gen. Lee had surrendered and here ended the campaign of the youngest soldiers that took place in the battles with fatigue and hunger for the glorious Lost Cause.

In conclusion, I can speak for the entire company and say that our much beloved Captain was looked to by the boys as a father and the every interest of his company was paramount to all else. He allowed to imposition and thru his efforts, Company I always fared as well as the best. Likewise did our Lieut. C. L. Duncan. These were the only person of mature age in our company and their consideration for our welfare will always be received, the other commissioned officers were kind and considerate so also the non-commissioned officers. From first to last, the communication between men and officers was pleasant and there will always be a bright spot of this write for the officers and every member of this company. According to the laws of nature, our company will be the last of the survivors to step off God's foot stool and I think that an effort should be made to the end that have a reunion and in some manner perpetuate the part taken by us in the events herein stated.

Published in:
LANCASTER ENTERPRISE
1 JUNE 1892
Submitted:
John Q Cousart

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